First release questions

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by ManEatingFridge, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. ManEatingFridge

    ManEatingFridge New Member

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    Title says it all

    I've pretty much finished my first game and I definitely want to put it on Steam for some experience and a reality check. It's an odd and short story based game and I really can't imagine how I'd market it aside from word of mouth since some might find it cool or interesting. It's literally about repeating a captcha in virtual environment and the beginning is liable to confuse people. Or actually the whole game is. But it gets pretty horrifying and cool. At least some people said so. And I think so... In any case, onto the questions.

    What should I publish under? I'm not inclined to go through a publisher and that leaves me with the option of starting a company or filing as self-employed. Both are relatively quick and inexpensive in Estonia. If I should do this then how would it benefit me over being just a dude? I don't get the whole not having to pay income tax thing, since I'd still have to do that when paying out dividends to myself or something, right? Or can I buy myself a new PC as a company buying means of production and not have to pay tax on that?

    That's the next issue, could I make any money off of this? It takes about an hour or so to play through the game if you don't speedrun it, meaning refunds could be an issue. How many people would refund in your experience? I don't know if anyone would even see or buy the game or if I should charge anything for the it. I think it would make sense for it to be just free, but I am in need of an upgrade to my PC situation plus even just putting the game up would cost me money. How much should I charge for it? 5$? Should I even bother?

    Finally, I'm guessing I'll do the whole "email all the gaming publications and youtubers" thing, any other suggestions for increasing visibility?

    Steam Direct and finishing the game will probably take a month in total so I have time to implement some changes and ponder over this. That being said, I feel like I really need to call this game done and get it out there or I'm never going to finish anything I start and never get anywhere in this industry.
     
  2. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    First, I've no idea how tax, or anything works in Estonia. So all I can tell you is what happens here, though I don't imagine yours would be vastly different in terms of benefits/pitfalls.

    I'm in the UK, and the best reason to register as a Limited company (whatever you call that in Estonia) is that it exists as a separate entity and protects you as a mere employee if things later go wrong and the company owes people money. If you just go self-employed and owe people money, you'd be facing bankruptcy. Which is very, very bad - you could lose everything you own.

    In the UK you could certainly have your limited company buy a new PC. The company would own it and it would be a company asset, which adds to the value of your company when you do your tax returns. You can only claim VAT relief if you're registered for and paying VAT in the first place - you can't just get a magic discount on stuff. Again, in the event of things going wrong, your company assets would have to be sold off to pay off your creditors.

    Your limited company would have at least one employee - you (as director). As such, you need to do monthly payroll where you pay yourself wages (or not), and pay income tax on behalf of your employees (including yourself) into your country's tax system. You probably don't have National Insurance to worry about. You also have to file annual tax returns to HMRC/Companies House, or quarterly returns if you're VAT registered.

    In contrast, just being self-employed is much simpler. Any money that comes in, is yours. Anything you buy with that money, is yours. If it breaks, you pay to get it fixed. But all the risk and responsibility is yours, too, if things go wrong.

    As for Steam, since they're in the US you'll need to apply for an ITIN if you're self employed, or an EIN if you have a company. I think you need to fill out a form to apply for an ITIN, but you can call them for an EIN which takes about five minutes. You can get both an ITIN or EIN from the United States IRS. You'll also have to complete a W8-BEN form if you have an ITIN, or W8-BEN-E if you have an EIN. Both of these forms are mind-bendingly difficult and you'll need to Google for a bit of help on how to complete it correctly. I can't remember the details off the top of my head but it's a royal ballache.

    On your game - I don't think one hour is really enough. I'd expect a ton of refunds with that, even at a $0.99 price point (don't forget, people are weird and moany). So before you do anything I'd look at ways of extending it's longevity/replayability - anything to keep people coming back beyond the first hour.

    But whatever else you get out of it, you'll get experience of the publishing process, which will be worth it's weight in gold for future projects.

    Oh - one more thing. As soon as your game lands on Steam, I guarantee that your inbox will be full of youtubers wanting free copies for review. Do NOT just give Steam keys to everybody. There are a shit-ton of wannabe's out there , with youtube channels with just a handful of views and crap videos. Those people are no use to you at all.
     
  3. noahbwilson

    Indie Author

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    First off: Low expectations. The world is saturated with indie games and its hard to climb out from under all the Flabby Bird remakes.

    Secondly: Start on game #2. Never stop dev-ing.

    Three: Put your game on www.indievideogames.com. I'll help ya out in any way I can. I don't need a Steam Key.

    I don't know how international stuff, so I'm no help there.
     

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